Pic by Rob Van Bommel/Sportscene
2016 Olympian Alyssa Bull earned bragging rights over her Rio partner, and Queensland’s Bill Bain upstaged his much more fancied rivals in highlights of the opening day of Australian Canoeing’s second Grand Prix in Sydney on Friday.
In other highlights, Paralympic gold medallist Curtis McGrath posted a winning double, while his Rio teammates, Amanda Reynolds and Susan Seipel, shared the gold medal spoils.
Bull and Alyce Burnett made the final together in the K2 500 at last year’s Rio Olympics, and are hoping to be among the medals in Tokyo in 2020.
But on Friday the close friends were going head-to-head in the women’s K1 500, with Bull prevailing by just 0.14 seconds in a blanket finish.
2012 London Olympian, Jo Brigden-Jones, finished a further two seconds back in third place.
The men’s K1 1000 similarly pitted two Rio teammates against each other, but Jordan Wood and Riley Fitzsimmons were upstaged by Queensland’s Bill Bain in a thrilling final.
Bain, who turns 23 on Sunday, held off Wood by almost a second, with Sydney’s Simon McTavish finishing third.
Fitzsimmons, who paddled with Wood in the K4 1000 final in Rio, finished fourth.
But they were able to get their revenge over the Queenslander, teaming up to win the K2 1000, 3.65 seconds ahead of Bain and Queensland’s Joel McKitterick.
The pair also teamed up with South Australia’s Sean Lohse and McKitterick to win the men’s K4 1000, with Bain, McTavish, Jayden Ellis and Jy Duffy finishing second.
In the para-canoe events, it was business as usual for Curtis McGrath, who posted wins in the MK1 200 and the MV1 200.
He finished 0.5 seconds ahead of fellow Paralympian, Dylan Littlehales, in the MC event.
Amanda Reynolds, who won silver at last year’s Paralympics, took out the gold over Paralympic bronze medallist, Susan Seipel, in the WK1 200 MC, but Seipel turned the tables on Reynolds in the WV1 200.
Racing continues at the Sydney International Regatta Centre on Saturday and Sunday.